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Public Health


Amany Refaat


Dental discoloration from fluorosis is a global public health problem. In Nigeria, 11.4% of the population is impacted by this disorder. Dental discoloration is caused by successive exposures to high fluoride concentrations during tooth development in utero and it is linked to the development of a variety of psychological and physiological problems, from dental aesthetics to a reduction in intelligence and skeletal changes. The purpose of this quantitative, cross-sectional study was to examine the cultural and environmental determinants of dental fluorosis in children in a rural community in Nigeria. A multilevel theoretical model was used to develop possible fluoride exposure pathways, such as good social services and dental care, as well as factors in the environment. The study was guided by 2 main research questions: What is the prevalence of fluorosis among Nigerian school-aged children? What is the severity of this fluorosis, and is it associated with the fluoride content of the soil, the water or the food? Data was collected by administering three surveys, on children aged 5 to15 years, their parent/guardian, and on community leaders. Chi-square and regression analysis tests were used to test for possible associations. The study findings showed a fluorosis prevalence rate of 86.6% in the 269 school children surveyed, with majority of these children between the ages of 8 to 13 years. The severity of children fluorosis was associated with the length of stay in the study area and the fluoride content in water, soil, and food. This study's possible impact on social change include raising awareness to the problem and the possible ways to resolve it, such as through, improved dental care services and a supportive social environment like flocculation of community water sources.

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